Criminal Minds episode, “The Fallen” shows lifelong emotional challenges of life after war…

by | Nov 15, 2012

Criminal Minds TV Episode “The Fallen”  Quote from this website…

“Episode Synopsis: The BAU travels to Santa Monica when burned bodies of homeless people begin showing up by the famous pier. Also, Rossi reconnects with his former Marine sergeant from Vietnam, on CRIMINAL MINDS, Wednesday, Nov. 14 (9:00-10:00 PM, ET/PT) on the CBS Television Network. Emmy Award-nominated actor Meshach Taylor (“Designing Women”) guest stars as Rossi’s former Marine sergeant, Harrison Scott.”

New Directions has provided comprehensive services to thousands of veterans in Los Angeles County.

“Since 1992, New Directions has transformed the lives of thousands of U.S. military veterans. Unfortunately, many thousands of veterans remain homeless on the streets of Los Angeles County.”  Quote from this website…

“Los Angeles has the largest population of homeless military veterans in the nation. The V.A. estimates that more than 8,000 homeless veterans live on our streets, accounting for eleven percent (11%) of all homeless veterans nationwide. Many of these men and women suffer from Co-Occurring Disorders, including substance abuse, mental illness and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), as well as chronic medical problems.”

My heart aches everyday for veterans of all wars, including “The Fallen” and those who struggled emotionally for a lifetime who are no longer with us… 

I was fortunate to watch Criminal Minds last night with my wife, Judy.  It was heartbreaking but very real to see an example of the vivid emotional pain of a decorated Vietnam combat veteran, homeless in Los Angeles.  Emmy Award-nominated actor Meshach Taylor is superb as former Marine sergeant, Harrison Scott, who helps the FBI team solve a case.  The story included excellent and very real flashbacks of Rossi & Scott in combat to demonstrate the reality of moral injury from the trauma of war It is rare to see this kind of candor and realism, especially with regard to the politics of war.  Political or “PR” decisions on the the part of leaders can be made without regard to the personal impact on those in the fight who are wounded or killed.  The trauma and moral injuries of combat, along with the politics of war, increase the emotional challenges for our soldiers returning home.

The Criminal Minds episode also featured New Directions, a well established veterans support organization and non-profit in Los Angeles.  We not only get to see the impact of war on soldiers returning home to life after war, but learn how we can help as citizens by becoming more educated and involved.  Awareness is the the first step in the journey of healing for individual veterans and our nation…  As a US Navy veteran from the Vietnam era, and as a child growing up with a parent who suffered from his own US Navy combat experience in WWII, Criminal Minds “The Fallen” episode was an encouraging sign that someday the public might learn and appreciate the struggles of our heroes who return home to readjust in civilian life.  My hope is that our society will eventually recognize the struggles and needs of our warriors without a second thought…

Steve Sparks
Reconciliation: A Son’s Story

About the author

Steve Sparks is a retired information technology sales and marketing executive with over 35 years of industry experience, including a Bachelors’ in Management from St. Mary’s College. His creative outlet is as a non-fiction author, writing about his roots as a post-WWII US Navy military child growing up in the 1950s-1960s.
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